Depth increase key to Panthers’ 2018 aspirations in LVFNL

STEPPING UP: Having played at Marong for the past three seasons, Corbin Fleming is now coaching the club. Picture: NONI HYETT
STEPPING UP: Having played at Marong for the past three seasons, Corbin Fleming is now coaching the club. Picture: NONI HYETT

NEW Marong coach Corbin Fleming believes an increase in depth will hold the Panthers in better stead in 2018 as they strive for a return to the Loddon Valley league finals.

The Panthers last year finished sixth with a 5-11 record and have undergone a coaching change, with Fleming taking over from Damien Lock, who had led Marong for the past two seasons.

Fleming has taken on the coaching job having spent the past three seasons with the Panthers.

While Fleming is a familiar face at Malone Park, there are a host of new recruits who are joining the club in 2018.

Among the recruits for the Panthers are Sam Harvey, Tom Longford, Ben Millar, Lyall Timms, Jordan Lehmann, the returning Josh Griffin, Tim Rhook, Jacob Fitzpatrick, Brock Gray, Harry Baker, Robert Grant, Thorne Wilson and Ethan Handley.

Longford has previously been a long-time senior player at Elmore, Harvey from Murrabit will add a big presence through the midfield and is also the Panthers new strength and fitness coach, while Pollock has previously played with the Bendigo Pioneers and Golden Square and Rhook from Boort will play a key forward role.

“The players we have picked up will add a lot of depth to our club and it’s not just going to be the senior side that will benefit, we’ve also got a lot of boys coming back for the reserves as well,” Fleming said on Saturday.

“We’re getting good numbers on the track and it’s very promising for the club that we’ll be very competitive across both those senior and reserve teams.

“I’ve been a part of the club for what is four years now and depth has been a bit of an issue, but the vibe around the club is really strong.”

The Panthers will be aiming to pick up from where they left off last year.

Having won just one of their first 10 games, the Panthers hit their straps late, winning four of their last six, which included a pair of victories over top-three teams Newbridge and Bridgewater.

The Panthers will open their season with a home game against reigning premier Calivil United on Saturday, April 14.